Sydney & it’s Suburbs

Mum & I  At Echo Point, Blue Mountains

Mum & I
At Echo Point, Blue Mountains

Continuing on our Holiday Post.
On the evening of 8th of November, 2014, we reached Sydney from Adelaide. We split up at the Sydney (Domestic) Airport. My father went with his relatives. My sister & her husband to their various acquaintances, and later, friends places. My Mum & I, left with my mother’s first cousin Pamela (Loku), and her husband Dennis, to their posh split level house, with a great view, and very open back yard, in the elite suburb of Castle Cove, in Northshore, New South Wales (NSW). I wasn’t aware they lived in, and that we were staying in, Northshore, till a few days later. They practically had given me a whole suite, not just a bedroom, to myself in their picture book perfect home. Touchwood. Back in SL, we too have (rather mum’s house here) a split level home. But we built this in 1989, and moved in, in January 1990. Thus our house here is about 25 years old.

My mother and Loku, were quite close as kids in the late 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s, till my mum got married in 1973, and left Sri Lanka for New Delhi, India. Post that they had met quite a few times, if and whenever both of them happened to be in SL at the same time (for Loku had also left for Australia in the mid-late 70’s itself, after she got married to Dennis). But I had met Loku only once, to my memory, as a teenager, when she came to SL for a holiday, in the early-mid 1990’s, with her, then,11 year old son. Thus 20 odd years later, this is the second time I met her. Of course my mum, met her a couple of months ago or so, here in SL. So it was a bit awkward for me to crash at their place initially, but the lovely couple made me feel at home. And Dennis, though in his late 60’s, and whom I met for the first time there, was a really nice, like minded, gentleman, with whom I could have an interesting conversation, without wasting time of idle gossip. Being a person who loves to socialise myself, I hardly get any like minded people to enjoy conversing with on intriguing topics, out here in SL. Instead what you mostly get is people who like to spin tales of other people I don’t even know, nor is any of my business. Thus I really enjoyed the company of the much older couple, I met, and resided with, down under, in Castle Cove, during my six day stay in Sydney. Added to that, socialite Loku is a fabulous cook/chef. The results of her gourmet cuisine, is still showing on my waistline.

Left to Right: My Mum, My Mum’s cousin Loku (Pam), and Loku’s husband Dennis, @ Echo Point -  Blue Mountains.

Left to Right: My Mum, My Mum’s cousin Loku (Pam), and Loku’s husband Dennis, @ Echo Point – Blue Mountains. PIX: Nuwan Sen

On the 9th of November, we (Mum, Loku, Dennis & I) went to see the Blue Mountains and the famed rock formation known as ‘The Three Sisters’. T’was beautiful whether that day; warm, clear and comfortable enough. We actually got to see the Blue Mountains properly. In the sense the whether was so fine, that we actually got to see the Blue Mountains – Blue, it’s not something you get to see everyday. The Blue Mountains are called the ‘Blue Mountains’, due to the eucalyptus trees, an evergreen tree, which gives out blue hue to the mountainous regions there. This phenomena takes place due to the oil dispersed from the eucalyptus trees which come in contact with fine dust particles and the scattering rays of sunlight that come through. Interestingly, besides having lived in Sydney for two years, between June 2006 and June 2008, and having travelled around Australia’s Eastern coast back then, this was the first time I visited the Blue Mountains. And it was totally worth it. Back in 2008, in Sydney, I watched, Emerald Falls (2008), a pretty good television movie, set in the picturesque Blue Mountains.

On One Sister of the Three Sisters.  (L-R) Me, Loku & My Mum.

On One Sister of the Three Sisters.
(L-R) Me, Loku & My Mum.

Mum, Loku and I climbed down up to one of the Three Sisters. Dennis & Loku have done this trek so many times, that Dennis stayed on at Echo Point for us. It wasn’t that far down ‘The Giant Stairway’, but it felt like a never ending descend. The ascend felt quicker.

Mum & I  Three Sisters in the Backdrop.

Mum & I
Three Sisters in the Backdrop.

The legend of the Three Sisters goes like this – Long Long time ago, lived three beautiful sisters of the ‘Gundungurra’ tribe, who fell in love with three brothers from the ‘Darug’ tribe. Their marriage was forbidden by tribal law, and the three warrior brothers decided to elope with the three sisters. A war ensued, and the ‘Kuradjuri’ (Tribal Clever Man) decided to turn the three sisters into stone, and promised to set them free after the battle. But unfortunately the ‘Kuradjuri’ was killed in battle, and the spell could not be broken. Thus the Three Sisters remain stuck rock solid till date.

This legend of the Three Sisters is actually not an ancient legend, but originated in more recent times. A modern day tale, concocted only around the late 1920’s. That too, the story was supposedly created by non-Aboriginal people, Caucasian Aussies.

Posing with one of the Dancers.

Posing with one of the Dancers.

Post that we went to see the Aboriginal dance, amazingly most of them were Caucasians. In fact, after the show, I told one of the fake, white skinned, aborigines, whilst taking a picture with him, that I look more like an aborigine than he does. He laughed and agreed with me. Ironically, most of the indigenous population of Australia are into drugs, crime, you name it, and have no proper place in society. Some of them could be really aggressive sometimes. They are given money, but not an education. Thus you find them walking the streets, living like hoboes/gypsies, trying to con people. Not all, but most. It’s really sad. And yet it’s their art and customs been exploited down under to lure in tourists.

Blue Mountains National Park

Blue Mountains National Park PIX: Nuwan Sen

Then we went to ‘Scenic World’, where Mum & I took the steep, almost vertical, train down to the Katoomba Rainforest. The line is supposedly the world’s steepest Railway. We had a nice walk through the Jurassic jungle past old coalmines, then we took the cable car, back up, and finally a scenic glass-bottomed skyway to the Blue Mountains National Park, and back, passing the Katoomba falls on the Kedumba River. That was a day well spent.

Back @ Loku & Dennis’ Place after spending the day @ the Blue Mountains. PIX: Nuwan Sen

Back @ Loku & Dennis’ Place after spending the day @ the Blue Mountains.
PIX: Nuwan Sen

Next day, on the 10th, we were to visit my great-Aunt; my mother’s Aunt, my maternal grandmother’s brother’s widow, Loku’s mum; at her nursing home, which had been quarantined earlier, as a few old people were ill. And from there, visit ‘Featherdale Wildlife Park’, which is in close proximity to where my Great-Aunt resides. I’m close to my Great-Aunt, and have known her since I was a child, and met her several times, when she visited SL, and whilst I was living in Sydney. Thus I was all dressed to meet her. But unfortunately, the quarantine was back on.

Mum & I @ Featherdale Wildlife Park

Mum & I @ Featherdale Wildlife Park

So ultimately, all dressed up, we (Mum, Loku & I) just went to Featherdale and had a nice time with authentic Australian Animals (some caged, some freer to walk about). T’was a nice day.

With a sleeping Koala in Featherdale. Koala’s tend to sleep for around 20 hours a day.

With a sleeping Koala in Featherdale. Koala’s tend to sleep for around 20 hours a day.

Loku & Mum @ Featherdale

Loku & Mum @ Featherdale Wildlife Park

From there we went to Chatswood, a suburb close to Castle Cove. While Mum & Loku did some shopping, I went and watched Interstellar (2014); a Christopher Nolan movie starring Matthew McConaughey, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, David Gyasi, Jessica Chastain and Wes Bentley; at the Hoyts in Chatswood’s Westfield. That evening, Carlo (my father’s first cousin who migrated to Sydney in the 90’s) visited us at Loku’s, with his twins (12 year old twin daughters).

On the 11th, Dennis dropped Mum & me, at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, in the city (Sydney). Prior to that I asked Dennis the direction to Castle Cove and Chatswood, assuming in was a western suburb (as we were to take a train back to Chatswood, when we were done). That’s when he mentioned we were in Northshore. I was like wow!! Really. As students, in Sydney, Northshore was very popularly known as being the posh-est, cleanest, classiest, most expensive and snobbish area of Sydney. Ha!! It was an honour to be residing in such a place, even though for just six days. When I spoke to some of friends down there, they were like “Whaaaatt??? You kiddin’ me”. Ha!! Ha!!

In the City - Sydney Mum & I @ Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, with the Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge, in the backdrop.

In the City – Sydney
Mum & I @ Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, with the Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge, in the backdrop.

So from Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, where there is a great view of the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, we walked past the Botanical gardens to the Opera House. From the Opera House past Circular Quays up to Harbour Bridge. On the way we went to ‘Pancakes on the Rocks’ (a favourite haunt of us students from back in the day), where we had lunch. A nostalgic day for me. Then we walked back to Circular Quays, and took two trains to Chatswood. Did some shopping, and in the evening Loku picked us up from Chatswood. Had a nice long mother and son day, on the 11th of November 2014.

Next day, Canberra, Next Post.

Nuwan Sen n’ Travel